June 10, 2013

Who Died Hardest? err… Grading The Die Hard Villains

Imagine a world without the Gruber brothers, or Colonel Stuart, or Komarov. (Yeah, I had to google his name too.)

Die Hard set a new standard for action movies, when it was released in 1988. It didn’t take long before every studio and star took a que from it’s brilliance and made every “Die Hard scenerio” there could possibly be. Many of these went on to do quite well themselves, and a big part of that success was due to the carbon copy of villains that were cut and pasted from the blueprint that the original Die Hard laid out.

The Die Hard series itself is even guilty of this. Each villain is made slightly different in each film. But they all have one thing in common that all “power hungry terrorists” must have. They all have to talk the talk. But, do they all walk the walk. This, above all else is what sets a great villain apart from the rest. So, who’s got the goods? Who was John McClane’s biggest “fly in the ointment… a monkey in the wrench”?


Hans Gruber – Die Hard = A+

hans gruber

It’s a foregone conclussion that there would be no substitute for the original. Hans had it all. The suit, the accent, the smirk. Most importantly, he had the attitude. The biggest contribution to this is obviously the incredible performance by the one and only Alan Rickman. He found that PERFECT line to walk throughout his performance as Hans! You find yourself wanting to kill him yourself one minute, and wanting to shake his hand and buy him a beer the next.


Colonel Stuart – Die Hard 2 = A

colonel stuart

Colonel Stuart was just a sadistic bastard. He destroyed a 747, taking the lives of hundreds of innocent people, just to prove a point. He threatened his own men for his own sick pleasure. And worst of all… he did nude yoga.


Karl – Die Hard = A


This dude just wouldn’t die! Hans always talked the talk, and he would walk the walk if he had to. But, he usually preferred to let his beady eyed #1 henchman do it for him. Extra points for pulling off being tough, with that hair-do.


Simon Gruber – Die Hard with a Vengeance = A-

simon gruber

Jeremy Irons is absolutely spectacular in his performance as Hans’ brother Simon. He plays the part very much like Rickman before him. He plays the calculating soldier perfectly. He lets his grunts do the dirty work most of the time. He even wears the suit and accent almost as well. But, where Irons looses points is the likability side. He takes it too far. You find yourself not hating him at all. He doesn’t even really dislike McClane that much, considering that he killed his brother. He walks around with headaches all day and yet he still finds a way to smile. But, he is still Jeremy Irons and that bumps the “cool cat” points up a notch.


Mai Linh – Live Free or Die Hard = B+

mai linh

There is nothing more sexy than a chick that can pull off tough and mean, and oh my, can Maggie Q do it. She should have been the main villain in the fourth installment. End of story.


Major Grant – Die Hard 2 = B

major grant

“Too bad McClane. I kinda liked you!” I kinda liked Major Grant too. He was an asshole. But, he was my kind of asshole. He was just evil enough, but he never made you forget the #1 on your “must die” list in Die Harder.


Mathias Targo – Die Hard with a Vengeance = C

mathias targo

Targo was meant to be the manacing silent partner. It just never worked for me. I found the chick more intimidating to be honest. But in all fairness, I found him more attractive.


Alik – A Good Day to Die Hard = D-


What a dancer…


Thomas Gabriel – Live Free or Die Hard = F

thomas gabriel

I sought out this particular picture of Olyphant, because this most perfectly describes his character as our pathetic excuse for a main villain in an otherwise great Die Hard installment. Notice two things. Other villains are holding a gun in their respective pics. Gabriel… a cell phone. All he did was cry on a cell phone for two hours. If I wanted to see that, I would go down to the youth center and watch all the other 13 year old girls.


Komorav – A Good Day to Die Hard = F-


First of all, I never thought I would EVER find a more pathetic excuse for a Die Hard villain than Thomas Gabriel. Congratulations… this guy. You look more like the guy that tries to bum a buck off of me every morning at Dunkin’ Donuts, than you do a villain. (wait a… minute…) Secondly, he’s not even really an antagonist to the right McClane. Jack is the one that has the beef with him and even ultimately kills him. Then, they have the audacity to try and make his death scene reminiscent of THE villain of ALL Die Hard villains?! Blasphemy!!!



So, what do you guys say? Who’s your favorite Die Hard villain?

About the Author

Brian M
Movies have been a big part of my life since the creation of the VCR. They have always been a way for me to escape. The action genre allowed that feeling more than any other, because the heroes in these films were living in an ordinary world, but were doing extraordinary things. Watching action movies encourages my imagination to explore while I am doing even the most mundane thing and make it exciting. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and keep action alive, no matter how old you get.



Daniel Bernhardt Joins Escape Plan Sequel

I always wanted Daniel Bernhardt to join The Expendables but this will do nicely instead; according to his Instagram Bernhardt has been working on the sequel to Escape Plan and has just finished filming. He doesn’t say if...
by Eoin Friel


First 12 Strong Trailer

Plot: 12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghani warlord to take down the Taliban.
by Eoin Friel


New Trailer for The Punisher

Plot: After exacting revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and children, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) uncovers a conspiracy that runs far deeper than New York’s criminal underworld. Now known throughout the ci...
by Eoin Friel